Broadband Forum launches first ever open-source projects in Helsinki

15 Sep 2017

The projects were revealed in Helsinki, Finland. Image: DanielFreyr/Shutterstock

Broadband Forum announces two new initiatives at Helsinki launch.

The Broadband Forum has published the first standard for distributed virtualised customer premises equipment (vCPE) as it continues to accelerate its work on open broadband, cloud central office (CloudCO) and software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN).

The architecture of broadband is changing, and with it brings the promise of open networking, improved day-to-day network maintenance and simplified deployment of advanced services to millions of subscribers.

The virtual Business Gateway (vBG), made public in Helsinki on 14 September, will accelerate the delivery of new-generation standardised and interoperable business services, such as enterprise-class firewall and wide-area network optimisation.

A landmark specification

Spearheaded by the Open Networking User Group, SD-WAN is enabled by the vBG, which connects to other initiatives such as CloudCO and the Network Enhanced Residential Gateway. Dubbed a landmark specification, its completion comes at the same time work commences on two major software projects for open broadband and makes major headway on its CloudCO project.

“As operators look to transform their networks with greater use of software and virtualisation, demand for solutions – such as the vBG and CloudCO, with these associated reference implementations and APIs – is growing. The market is now ready for standards-based software deliverables for open broadband,” said Robin Mersh, CEO of Broadband Forum.

The vBG system enables increased efficiency in service provider networks by virtualising some of the functionality of a business gateway into a much more flexible hosting environment, which may be located at the broadband customer’s premises, in the operator’s own network, or a combination of both.

It promises to simplify customer-located equipment and customer self-provision through a portal, rapid introduction of new services, decommissioning of unsuccessful ones, and upselling of value-added services. All of this can be done without the need to deploy hardware devices to remote enterprise sites.

Providers satisfying customer demand

The CloudCO User-Managed Objects Framework project creates a cloud-based user interface framework, and a user-managed template that can be used by all providers. This aims to satisfy customer requirements such as SD-WAN, where the customer wants to have WAN resource telemetry in the user browsers and portals, and for use by their applications.

The second key project is Broadband Access Abstraction Open Source, which addresses the requirements, architecture, design and software required to support the virtualisation of access device functionality. This enables an open and interoperable interface for access equipment from different vendors.

The open-source nature of the project is a vital element, as it will be managed under the forum’s agile open-broadband software initiative, allowing for member and non-member participation to create a fast feedback loop between the specifications and the source code that supports them.

Both new projects are the first open-source initiatives undertaken by the Broadband Forum and are spearheaded by groups of key operators and their manufacturer partners.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects